Sunday, February 24, 2013

Media Fast

Over lent I am doing a mini 7 experiment inspired by Jen Hatmaker's book "7 - An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess". My hope is that this experiment brings me closer to God and changes me in such a way that I am better able to serve Him and that I may be better equipped in hearing His calling.

I've completed a week of 7 foods and am on my last day of my week with only 7 items of clothing. Tomorrow I begin my media fast as I unplug for 7 days. The following weeks leading up to Easter will include a week of eliminating stress, eliminating possessions, eliminating waste and decreasing spending. 

Next week, after my media fast, I will begin to share what I have been learning. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What mama did ~ LOVE

Joining Lisa-Jo in another five minute write. Five Minute Friday is writing without thinking too much and not worrying about the mechanics......just allowing our hearts to speak.  This week we get to choose our own word to describe "what mama did".

Mom and Me, Christmas 2011
My mama loved well. Three babies, one of which was born without breath, born well before the young age of 20. I was the first, born shortly after her seventeenth birthday. My sisters followed, arriving two months early before my mother had even turned eighteen. 

Mom always told me, when I was old enough to figure out that I was in her belly at the time she married my dad, that they wanted to marry so badly but because they were so young their families wouldn't allow it. So I was a gift. A planned excuse for a wedding.

When I got old enough to know that this was probably just a story to ease a young girls insecurities, it was too late. I already believed that I was wanted. I already knew that I was loved. And at an age where most girls are often more interested in their reflections in the mirror, my mama was giving all of herself, all of her love, to her family. My mamma did love well. She still loves well. I thank God every day for her.

Five Minute Friday

when you are out of photos

I haven't been very chatty here's a few pictures to show you what I've been up to. 


It looks like fudge. It smells like mint chocolate. Even though I KNEW it was soap I was still beckoned by this delicious looking soap every time I walked into the kitchen. I finally had to find another room to let this soap "cure" in because I was afraid I was going to eventually bite into my chocolate mint soap. I bet it doesn't taste as good as it looks and smells.


Remember my wax mess?

Well, I tried all the tricks that I could find to try to get the wax out of my carpet.  Ironing, Goo Gone, and even WD40. After hours (I am not exaggerating) of ironing a paper bag over the hardened waxed carpet..........I gave up. 

Admitting defeat, I headed to Amazon, found a rug to cover the spot (cheaper then new carpet....or wood floors which is what I would like to do someday because really, who puts carpet in the kitchen?) and put the iron in it's storage spot where it will not move for another year or two because I DON'T iron. 

Below, top left: One day I used all three of my crock pots...I don't remember what I had "brewin'" in each of them but it was a good and productive day. I'm sure of it. Anyway. The three crocks had been washed and were waiting on the radiator for me to put them in their proper sleeping places (my small kitchen and my abundance of crocks necessitate storage elsewhere). I had to take a picture of my three best friends and say a word of thanks. They truly make my life easier. 

Below, top middle: The next picture is the display of the 7 foods that I exclusively ate for 7 days....well...almost 7 days. I promise, I will write more on this experience later (this week is my 7 pieces of clothing for 7 day....much easier then giving up food!). 

You guessed it.....below, top right: Valentine Pizza! Tortilla cut into heart shapes, homemade pizza sauce and shredded cheese. The kiddos loved them!

The middle-middle picture? Oh, that's just a few pounds of pig fat. I rendered lard for the first time with my a borrowed roaster oven. The middle bottom picture shows the chunks of fat left over. These are called cracklings. I've read that after rendering these little cracklings can be fried up and tossed on top of salad (tastes just like bacon). Haven't tried this but I do know that they make great doggie treats!

Bottom right is a picture of chicken stock and fresh-still-in-liquid-form lard. That was a busy day. 

I hope to get my voice back soon as I'm excited to share my 7 Lenten Experiment with you (based on Jen Hatmaker's book "7"). Here in the Minnesota tundra we're expecting many inches of snow this evening so it sounds like a perfect time to catch up on some writing. :)

The Chicken Chick

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Beloved

Its Friday, which means that it's not only time to dance and sing but it is also time for a five minute write. Lisa-Jo hosts the fun writing party, Five Minute Fridays. The rules are simple: write for five minutes flat with no editing (no overthinking - just write!), share at Lisa-Jo's and read what other's have written (I promise, you'll be inspired!). Today's word is BELOVED

Another Valentines Day has passed. I've had a love-hate relationship with Valentines Day for years. It is a day in which my expectations are raised. You know. Chocolates, roses and diamonds or something shiny from a over-priced jewelry store....those items that are on the coveted list that every woman would love to receive. Of course with such high expectations how can one not be disappointed.

For many years Valentines was just a day to painfully remind me of my singleness. Although I fought hard for the idea of "I don't need a man. I can do it on my own!", sometimes I just wished for a companion that would love my children like his own and join in this journey of life with me. 

Yesterday, as I gazed out the window while washing the breakfast dishes, I saw a limo pull up to the neighbors house. The driver filled the trunk with luggage and drove the Mr. and the Mrs. off to......somewhere. And don't we often think that somewhere is better then here? 

But as I daydreamed I pondered that. I've decided that right here is an ok place to be. Almost five years ago I remarried and he loves my children and has joined me on this crazy journey. He supports my crazy ideas (like a week long fast of only seven foods). And although he doesn't like to travel, I know if I said, "Hey Honey, can we go to Haiti next year? I could love on babies while you help construct a new wing for the orphanage?" He'd say yes. I know it. Because I can count on him. Always. 

He is my beloved. 

Wedding Day July 12, 2008

Click on over to Lisa-Jo's, but I warn you, you may lose hours as you read some of the fantastic entries!

Friday, February 8, 2013

stripped bare

It's Friday which means it's time to dance and sing (the daycare kids and I have a song and dance to celebrate this glorious day). Friday is also the day in which Lisa-Jo hosts Five Minute Fridays and I humbly join the party of words strung together in five short minutes by a group of fantastic writers. The rules are simple. Lisa-Jo provides the word, write for five minutes flat, no backtracking/editing/over thinking, share your link at Lisa-Jo's, and share the love by reading what others have written. It's great fun and so inspiring. Won't you join us? I promise, you will be blessed!

Today's word ~ BARE

Lord, I want to be stripped bare. 
          Strip me of myself so there is more room for you.

Strip me of my foolishness, my stubbornness, my selfishness. 
 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves 
Phil. 2:3

And to man He said, "Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." 
Job 28:28

Strip me of my pride and my vain ambitions.
 ......if My People who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land 
1 Chronicles 7:14
          I bow humbly before you. Forgive me. Heal my land.
Strip of my idols, those possessions that rob me of time with you. up your treasures in heaven 
Matt. 6:19-20
You alone are God and I want to worship you.
     For you are great, and do wondrous things; you alone are God 
Psalm 86:10

Open my ears so that I may hear you. 
         The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. 
Proverbs 15:31

Open my eyes so that I may see you. my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from your law 
Psalm 119:18

Open my heart so that I may completely turn it over to you.

Lord, I give you all of me. 

I surrender. 

Lord, have your way in me.

Note: Verses and video were added after my timer buzzed. :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Great days happen even when it feels like nothing is going right...

Last week I had a day....yes, ONE day which looked like this ~

Disclaimer: Sometimes, when I share my minor catastrophes, I exaggerate to add some comic relief. Just keep that in mind.
A pile of backpacks, coats, boots and winter weat.
School was delayed for two hours.....until the school decided at 7:20 am to cancel for the day. This left parents scrambling and extra kids (kids FULL of energy and excitement over having a snow day) arriving at my house. I love my school-agers but they tend to be harder to care for than babies and preschoolers. I never hear a four year old say, "I'm bored......" but a seven year old? Ugh. I'm bored comes out of their mouths in 20 minute intervals.

So, on days when I have a group of school aged kids I try to plan activities to keep them occupied. The first craft project was "hockey art". This involves placing a piece of paper in a cake pan, sprinkling paper with powdered tempera paint and using a Popsicle stick (hockey stick) to move around an ice cube (hockey puck).

My tempera paint is in a high cabinet in my kitchen so I grabbed a chair to ladder me up to the otherwise unreachable cabinet. With one foot on the chair and one foot moving towards the counter top, I heard the creak of the chair (a chair that was in my grandmother's house when she was growing up) and knew it was over. One leg on the counter the other dangling through the chair, I somehow managed to catch my self with my arm on the top of the refrigerator.

I am thankful that I didn't land on top of the broken chair or end up with a twisted ankle (I once fell off the counter while I was retrieving art supplies which left me limping for a month).

The kids loved this craft activity.

The next craft was melting old, broken crayons into new, cool heart-shaped crayons. Unfortunately the counter top was filled with our drying hockey art so, as I searched for a place to set the crayon mold full of hot melted crayon wax, the silicone mold gave way............

My carpet, dishwasher, refrigerator and cupboard now have a really cool wax design. It's one-of-a-kind artwork.

So much for cool, new crayons. This all occurred before lunch but I was still able to laugh at my "misfortune". Heck, it's important to know how to laugh at one's self. 

Oh, did I mention that I was hosting Tuesday night bible study in my house on this same day? Luckily someone else was bringing desert because I may served burnt cookies. 

While cleaning the table after lunch I dropped a plate...................
yep, still laughing..........

Hubs returned from work at 3:30 and as I was sharing the series of my unfortunate events with him I grabbed the footstool that the children use to wash their hands at the sink.....and it fell apart. Really. I did not drop it or throw it (although I felt like throwing it when the side ducky fell to the ground). I laughed yet wanted to cry at the same time as I exclaimed, "Everything I touch today........"

Sometimes there will be days like this but when I looked at the rest of the day I can see so many blessings.

A houseful of kids playing, laughing and getting along. The sound of joyful play in every room was beautiful. Getting the chance to spend time with the school age kids that I don't get to see on a daily basis was wonderful. The hockey art was a success despite the chair that was sacrificed. The carpet? Yeah, I ironed for hours and finally gave up a few days later. I have a new rug thanks to my wax spill. I am thankful for Amazon.....rug ordered and delivered in less then a week. 

The whole family pitched in after dinner to sweep the floors, vacuum carpets, pick up the play room, etc. so that the house was ready for bible study. It was a joy to work along side my family after what seemed to be a very long day. 

Another great part of that day? I have a funny story to tell. I think it even entertained my bible study guests.